What Is The Filibuster All About?

Written by Garry Gamber

Continued from page 1

Debate Rule XIX does not limitrepparttar number of Senators who may speak on an issue. The rule does, however, limit each Senator to two speeches per legislative day on each issue. During a filibuster periodrepparttar 136180 presiding officer will typically call a recess rather than an adjournment atrepparttar 136181 end ofrepparttar 136182 calendar day, keepingrepparttar 136183 legislative day alive whenrepparttar 136184 Senate reconvenes. This tactic effectively limits each Senator to a maximum of two speeches on each issue. It is possible, however, for a Senator to offer an amendment in order to create a new debatable question, on whichrepparttar 136185 Senators may make two more speeches.

A relatively recent provision in Rule XIX, calledrepparttar 136186 “Pastore Rule” in honor of Senator John Pastore of Rhode Island, requires that debate on a question must be germane torepparttar 136187 question. During filibuster periods this rule is enforced to prevent Senators from making meaningless, off-topic speeches. Duringrepparttar 136188 1930’s throughrepparttar 136189 1950’s several Senators, such as Huey Long and Strom Thurmond made long filibusters which included readings of recipes,repparttar 136190 Congressional Record,repparttar 136191 Declaration of Independence, and other non-germane topics.

While a Senator is speaking on an issue he or she must remain standing and must speak more or less continuously. During a filibuster-length speech this requirement creates fatigue inrepparttar 136192 speaker. However,repparttar 136193 speaker may yield to a question from another Senator without losingrepparttar 136194 floor. The other Senator can provide relief by asking a very long question followed by a short answer, followed by more long questions. In this manner a group of Senators can work together to extendrepparttar 136195 length of a Senator’s speaking period.

Senate Rule XXII

The procedures for invoking cloture for purposes of wrapping uprepparttar 136196 floor debate and bringingrepparttar 136197 question to a vote are contained in Rule XXII. The process requires a motion that is signed by at least 16 Senators and presented torepparttar 136198 presiding officer whilerepparttar 136199 question is being debated. The rule requires thatrepparttar 136200 cloture motion must be seasoned, meaning that it cannot be acted upon untilrepparttar 136201 second day after it is presented.

One hour afterrepparttar 136202 cloture motion has matured onrepparttar 136203 third dayrepparttar 136204 presiding officer interruptsrepparttar 136205 Senate proceedings and presentsrepparttar 136206 cloture motion torepparttar 136207 Senate for a vote. At this point an automatic roll call vote is required.

In 1975repparttar 136208 Senate voted to changerepparttar 136209 number of votes needed to invoke cloture to 60% fromrepparttar 136210 previous 67%. A compromise was struck, however, because some Senators feared that if changingrepparttar 136211 Rule was too easy thatrepparttar 136212 majority needed to invoke cloture might be reduced further inrepparttar 136213 future. Therefore,repparttar 136214 Senate agreed that to make future rule changes, including changingrepparttar 136215 cloture rule itself, would requirerepparttar 136216 traditional 67% majority vote.

Ifrepparttar 136217 motion to invoke cloture is defeatedrepparttar 136218 Senators can reconsiderrepparttar 136219 vote or file a new motion to invoke cloture. For example, in 1988 there were eight cloture motions on a campaign finance reform bill and all eight motions were defeated.

If a motion to invoke cloture is successful, thenrepparttar 136220 effect of invoking cloture only guarantees that a vote onrepparttar 136221 question will take place eventually, but not immediately. Afterrepparttar 136222 successful cloture motion has passedrepparttar 136223 Senate is said to be working under cloture. Rule XXII imposes a maximum cap of 30 additional hours for debate, quorum calls, parliamentary inquiries, and other proceedings prior to an actual vote onrepparttar 136224 question. During this cloture period each Senator is entitled to speak for a total of not more than one hour.

Once cloture has been invoked under Rule XXII,repparttar 136225 point of a filibuster is largely lost. Without exception, proceedings are wrapped up in less than 30 hours andrepparttar 136226 question is brought to a vote.


The filibuster speech inrepparttar 136227 Senate has enjoyed a long tradition and has been used for several purposes. On one handrepparttar 136228 filibuster has been used to persuade others ofrepparttar 136229 validity ofrepparttar 136230 minority position on a question. Open and unlimited debate can change minds and sway opinion. The filibuster speech process may help to defeat an issue once a vote is taken.

Onrepparttar 136231 other hand,repparttar 136232 filibuster has been used to stall or prevent a vote on an issue. The filibuster speech orrepparttar 136233 threat of a filibuster may causerepparttar 136234 issue to be tabled or withdrawn and not brought to a vote onrepparttar 136235 floor.

The minority party inrepparttar 136236 Senate counts onrepparttar 136237 use ofrepparttar 136238 filibuster as a means to preventrepparttar 136239 majority party from wielding too much influence. Such a tool encouragesrepparttar 136240 two major parties inrepparttar 136241 Senate to work in nonpartisan ways to resolve differences. The filibuster creates a need for compromise. It has been suggested that withoutrepparttar 136242 filibuster toolrepparttar 136243 Senate would be much less productive in producing legislation.

Garry Gamber is a public school teacher. He writes articles about politics, real estate, health and nutrition, and internet dating services. He is a founding member of http://www.GoodPoliticsRadio.com and the owner of http://www.TheDatingAdvisor.com

Another Federal Whistleblower -- Is Anyone Listening?

Written by Teresa Chambers

Continued from page 1

Imaginerepparttar outcry if I had previously stayed silent and if one of those symbolic monuments or memorials had been destroyed orrepparttar 136068 loss of life had occurred to someone visiting one of those locations. I did not want to be standing with my superiors amongrepparttar 136069 ruins of one of these icons or in front of a Congressional committee trying to explain why we hadn't asked for help.

Despiterepparttar 136070 serious First Amendment and security implications of my case for each American, there has been no Congressional intervention, no Congressional hearings, no demand of accountability by elected officials for those who took action to silence me and who have ignored all warnings aboutrepparttar 136071 perils to which I alerted them. Following my termination andrepparttar 136072 publicity that accompanied it, it is unlikely that any current Federal employee will be willing to speak up with straightforward, accurate information aboutrepparttar 136073 realities of any danger we face.

Our legal appeals continue, and some ofrepparttar 136074 administrative charges placed against me have already been thrown out. Through it all, it is becoming clear that Federal employees have little protection for simply tellingrepparttar 136075 truth.

My story is told on a website, www.honestchief.com, established by my husband in December 2003 and maintained by him so thatrepparttar 136076 American people could “witness”repparttar 136077 issues in this case. The website has provided transparency to my situation by making key documents available for viewing, includingrepparttar 136078 transcripts of depositions of top officials and their testimony during a key administrative hearing.

Suppression of information is spreading – gag orders, non disclosures agreements, andrepparttar 136079 government’s refusal to turn over documents. In agencies that span Federal service, conscientious public servants are struggling to communicate vital concerns to their true employers – you,repparttar 136080 American public. Is anyone listening?

Teresa C. Chambers tcchambers@honestchief.com

Teresa Chambers devoted nearly 28 years to law enforcement service. She most recently served as Chief of the U.S. Park Police, responsible for protecting national parks, monuments, and parkways in the Washington, D.C., San Francisco, and New York City areas. Park Police officers also provide protection for the President and others as well as myriad functions in the agency’s role as one of only a few uniformed federal law enforcement agencies.

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